October 17, 2002
There's a few things we've been too polite to point out to you, but it's time to set a few things straight.
I would like you to know that idiotarian is not a word. Yes, I recognize that English is a living, evolving language, where additions are made by usage and not by mandate, but understand, neither are they made through sheer repetition. Fisk is not a transitive verb; It's a surname. It's no longer amusing to watch you make yourself sound silly.
Those of us in the majority, who are of all political stripes, correctly see stridency and cliquish, back-slapping, jargon-laden repetitious rantings as neither productive nor useful. That you have tacked "-pundit" onto an adjective and then suffixed .blogspot.com on the end of it does not suddenly mean that anyone with any decision making power about international politics suddenly gives a shit about your opinion.
We do not speak of "Coultering punditarians". Even if one lonesome loyalist ink-stained wretch felt it necessary to pander to a tiny but loud constituency be repeating our made-up words in print, we'd still not stoop to inaccuracy, childishness, or unquestioning loyalty to a doctrine in the course of our discussion of geopolitics.
It's been asked why certain positions or ideas aren't represented online, or at least aren't represented well. That's similar to asking why no one is taking the time to engage the folks staffing the Lyndon Larouche table on your local college campus: It's time-consuming, annoying, and gets in the way of doing productive things. It's also not a luxury that's afforded to anyone in an actual position of control over the situation.
We could point out the inadequacies of various positions shouted from all over the web. That the war on terror has apparently not been successful in securing our nation's capital. That winning a war requires having goals for that war, preferably achievable ones. That truly engaging an enemy requires defining who the members of that enemy group. If our greatest collective danger is the overlap of the sets of Islamists and Arabs, which is possible, then why would we want to diffuse our efficacy by targeting for derision and detention those who are only members of one set? Of neither?
Protocol dictates that to pose this argument, one most go into the belly of the beast. Their argument is that, when faced with an evil, we must respond with all available means, with no reservation, in attacking those who support that evil. I submit that undifferentiated, xenophobic dismissals of entire cultures, entire peoples, is an evil prejudice. A prejudice that's not just morally wrong, but dangerous because it encourages those who might side with us against the extremists in their culture to instead see us as enemies. Therefore I am morally obligated to engage places where such actions take place, hold the leaders of those places responsible for these evil actions, and not be concerned with the slights that other who are around those evildoers might feel. It's their fault for choosing to be of the same ilk as those poisonous few.
But what happens when faced with such engagement? With indisputable evidence of the evil in their midst? We get protestations that the members of the community shouldn't all be lumped together with the small percentage of genuinely wrong people in their midst. They result to creating conspiracy theories against those of us in the right. They try to drown out the few voices of protest that spring up. Their leaders claim that "opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect" their own, refusing to take responsibility for the environment they created and encourage.
That's not all. They hold tightly onto their suspicions of their enemies, even in face of contradictory facts. They point out that, though some might say things that are evil or wrong, they can understand where the rage comes from. According to doctrine, this means they're all apologists for evil. They should be lumped in with their leaders who fail to rein them in, and written off for good. And we can fairly ignore the fact that there are people trying to reform because they're too diplomatic and don't issue blanket condemnations of everyone in their group.
But of course, I'm a fool. Trying to engage people in dialogue, perhaps start a useful conversation with a few of them, it could never lead to progress. It could never lead to voices of temperance within an extremist community. Right?
There's some who'd dismiss the argument, that these people aren't saying that evil is wrong because it's evil, but that evil is wrong because it might make them look bad. I don't buy it. I think people are making progress. Now if we can just drop the extremism that pushes even legitimate points out of the realm of coherent discussion, we'll be getting somewhere.
Update: Yup, comments are gone. I'm tired of the idiocy, from both sides. I don't doubt that I'll continue getting hate mail from people who probably share the same political goals as me. Thanks for helping the cause by making important ideas look like the ranting of fools.
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